I was minding my business doing businessy things when I realised there are a lot of similarities between sales & marketing and Tinder. You know, the dating app. I was a Tinder user when I was single and I have a lot of friends that are currently swiping to meet someone.
It's tough putting yourself out there, specifically for us creative types. We'd much rather be producing work than reaching out to prospective clients. It's totally possible to run a business just on word-of-mouth, but you'll probably end up with what comes your way instead of the kind of work you're actually dying to do. To get those clients, you need to go find them.
The thought occurred to me that doing sales & marketing has similar ups and downs as trying to meet someone on Tinder. These are the reasons I came to this conclusion:
It's a numbers game:
Sales, like Tinder, is a numbers game. The more people you engage with, the better your chances of success are. The average conversion rate for cold calling is between 2-3%. That's a lot of calls you need to make before any of them turn into clients. Similarly, if you're new to Tinder you'll quickly realise that you'll need to spend a significant amount of time swiping to maximise your chances of meeting the right person. Of course, it's not impossible that you could land your next client with your first outreach, or that you could meet the right person the first time you swipe Tinder, but it's highly unlikely.
Don't get too emotionally involved too soon:
Because it's numbers game, it's best not to get emotionally attached too soon. How often have you planned a project mentally when you've only had one phone call with a prospective client? Similarly, matching with someone on Tinder doesn't guarantee that there will be chemistry. The longer you can avoid getting emotionally involved, the easier it will be for you to cut your losses and move on when you realise the prospective client or Tinder match isn't interested. This part is crucial - the sooner you establish the disconnect and move on, the sooner you'll find the client or match you're looking for.
Rejection is painful no matter how it happens. Creatives are well-known for taking rejection personally even though a 'no' may have nothing to do with what we're offering. The temptation is to wallow in self pity and while we're doing that, we're not reaching out to new prospects. The less involved you are emotionally (as above), the easier it will be to kick off the dust and move right along.
It's often a schlep:
I'm not going to lie to you, doing sales can be laborious. Swiping Tinder can be laborious. It's so much easier to get busy living life or doing business than doing the hard work of saying "hello" one more time. If we do that, we can temporarily forget that we need clients or that we'd like to meet someone, and that's ok. Just don't get stuck here.
It often feels like a waste of time:
Sometimes to the point of utter frustration. You may have to wade through many to find a good match. But if you know what you're looking for and you're willing to keep looking, you may be pleasantly surprised at what comes your way.
Success comes when you know what you want and what you don't want:
How can you match with someone if you don't know what you're looking for? If a client asks me whether I shoot weddings, it's easy for me to say no and refer them to another photographer. I'm not going to convert them into a corporate client by continuing the conversation, it's just not going to happen. This frees me up to spend my time connecting with the kind of clients I want to work with, like those who want their products photographed or who want to create videos to facilitate internal communications.
When you're swiping Tinder and you come across someone that violates one of your deal breakers, instead of trying to change them into the person you would like them to be, move on and go find the one that you think has true potential.
You can definitely find The One:
By The One, in a business context I mean you can find the ones. The ones that are right for you and who are a good match. Clients who are willing to pay what you're worth, who love doing business with you and who rave about your work. That would be the clients who you can be of service to, who want what you're selling. They're out there and the sooner you start looking for them, the sooner you will find them.
It's also not impossible that you may find the person you're looking for by swiping Tinder. It's happened to many people I know. In fact, I know many who met on Tinder and are married today. Not that marriage is necessarily everyone's goal, but I'm making a point here. If you're looking to meet someone, may I encourage you to keep trying? It's not always easy and sometimes you meet people who are completely unsuitable, but then, one day...
Until next time,